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The informal defense organized by Cyprus this semester?

Minister Demetris Eliades wrote to C. Ashton proposing an informal meeting of Defense Ministers (Credit: Government of Cyprus

(BRUSSELS2, in Copenhagen) The proposal has just been launched: Cyprus has proposed to organize the informal meeting of Defense Ministers in place of Denmark. Denmark – which benefits from an opt-out in military matters – has in fact decided not to organize this type of meeting. Which is a first. All eyes then turned to the High Representative of the EU who, within the framework of the Lisbon Treaty, leads security policy. But, for the moment, the answer remains very vague. “ We see the subject » replied me, elliptically, one of his spokespersons.
Cyprus, which holds the presidency of the EU in the second half of the year, has therefore decided to take the bull by the horns.

The Cypriot Minister of Defense, Demetris Eliades, sent a letter to Catherine Ashton at the beginning of January, therefore proposing to organize this meeting. A letter which seems to meet the wishes of several Member States (*). This meeting will take place according to the “traditional format”, that is to say with the presence of a NATO representative. Which is a certain step forward for Cyprus. The date has not yet been specified. It will be set at a “ convenient date » on the agenda of the High Representative. What seems likely is that the informal meeting of ministers will not precede the formal meeting but will follow it. Given the deadline, it seems difficult to respect the traditional schedule. This proposal, however, seems to embarrass the High Representative: by accepting this initiative, she risks becoming angry with the Turks while collaboration with Ankara is necessary on some delicate subjects, notably Iran or Syria.

A political moment

However, there is no shortage of topics at the moment in terms of European defense, whether it be force generation problems, fiscal and economic constraints that weigh on all defense budgets, or “pooling and sharing” projects launched. by the European Defense Agency (and those who can be) or possible new operations (in the Sahel, in the Horn of Africa, in Libya, in South Sudan)... And hold an informal meeting in the The next few months wouldn't be too long. To do otherwise would also be too bad a sign given by the High Representative and a new “miss” in the field of European Defense. It is a symbolic gesture as well as a political act. If the EU wants to have some leadership, it cannot avoid these types of ministerial meetings.

(*) Not only the countries which signed the Weimar letter… The Netherlands and Sweden are also sensitive to these meetings and want them to take place.

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).

One thought on “The informal defense organized by Cyprus this semester?"

  • Costas Miltiades

    The above conclusion correctly puts things into perspective. the Government of Cyprus has finally made the right decision. It was not easy because the subject was the subject of intense internal debate. The sensible voices of those who also care about the promotion of global European interests, in particular the MEP Ioannis kasoulides, compelled President Christofias to throw in the towel and accept that Cyprus should take responsibility for organizing this meeting. So Cyprus did the right thing.

    It is also true that there are many subjects in the field of European defence, both in terms of capabilities and operations, which require the attention of Defense Ministers. Moreover, there are those who whisper that because of the three successive Presidencies (Danish, Cypriot and Irish) the next 18 months will be difficult for the European defense project. With this in mind, it would be very awkward to miss the opportunity created by the Cypriot government's decision. Threats and insults from the “usual suspects” should not prevent those who have the responsibility to serve the common European interest from also making the right decision and holding this meeting.

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